By Luca Peruzzi
Since more than 40 years Intermarine is a leading company in the design and construction of Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMVs). With the advent of unmanned platforms, Intermarine is today proposing a new generation family of MCM platforms which integrates ‘tool booxes’ of the latter vehicles.
The key factor of the Intermarine success is the so called “Monocoque single-skin without reinforcement”, which is a unique construction technique patented by the company based in Sarzana, close to La Spezia, allowing the achievement of a very high shock resistance: the hull is a monolithic piece of fiberglass, built without any longitudinal and transversal stiffeners. Under shock loads the monocoque single-skin hull shows a significant elasticity, without inducing permanent deformations nor breaking. Intermarine has so far built a total of 44MCMVs for eight different Navies, all in accordance with this winning construction technology together with different platforms configuration. The latest, in addition to the countermeasures warfare are also capable to conducts other naval operations based on customer requirements.
During the last two decades, most of the Naval forces and industries have been focused on finding a way to “keep the man out of the minefield” during mine countermeasure operations at sea. Intermarine has therefore considered since the design phase the integration of unmanned systems onboard new MCM platforms. This solution leverages both the progress of the “unmanned” systems technology, as well as that of the proven capabilities of the Intermarine vessels, which are designed and built in order to operate in potentially dangerous areas, minimizing the risk of triggering a mine, and in the worst case capable to withstand in safety the effect of an underwater non-contact explosion.
The Intermarine’s New Generation (NG) MCM fleet includes three different sizes of vessels, starting from the 52.5 meters long Enhanced MCMV platform, with the added capability to recover and handle a number of drones, and two additional variants of NG MCM platforms: the 60 meters long NG MCMV for Coastal operations and the 80 meters long NG MCMV for off-shore operations. All these new MCM Vessels also incorporate the proven capabilities of a legacy MCMV platform, including high resistance to the shock loads, UW signatures reduction and management, in addition to the ability to carry on board a mine hunting sonar, according to the customer requirements. The Intermarine NG MCMVs are able to operate both in stand-off mode thanks to the MCM toolbox as well as to access the minefield area, where necessary, according to the motto: “Unmanned where you can, Manned where you must”.
The 52.5 meters Enhanced MCMV is able to embark, launch, retrieve and operate both Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), Expendable or Reusable (i.e. MDVs equipped with Mine Disposal Charges-MDC) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). The additional two NG MCMV variants are suitable to embark and integrate a more comprehensive state of the art MCM Toolbox including a large number of ROVs, AUVs and Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) equipped with dedicated payloads in order to conduct mine hunting and mine sweeping operations. The MCM Toolbox drones are operated from the vessel aft main deck area and stored inside large hangars and storage rooms. The use of dedicated containers allows modularity with the possibility to have on board the right MCM toolbox for the intended ship mission.The off-shore NG MCMV provides superior performances in terms of range and speed in order to operate together with the expeditionary force. It is also equipped with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), operated from the flight deck and recovered inside a dedicated hangar.